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Biochemistry

Identification of catalytic residues in the As(III) S-adenosylmethionine methyltransferase.


PMID 22257120

Abstract

The enzyme As(III) S-adenosylmethionine methyltransferase (EC 2.1.1.137) (ArsM or AS3MT) is found in members of every kingdom, from bacteria to humans. In these enzymes, there are three conserved cysteine residues at positions 72, 174, and 224 in the CmArsM orthologue from the thermophilic eukaryotic alga Cyanidioschyzon sp. 5508. Substitution of any of the three led to loss of As(III) methylation. In contrast, a C72A mutant still methylated trivalent methylarsenite [MAs(III)]. Protein fluorescence of a single-tryptophan mutant reported binding of As(III) or MAs(III). As(GS)(3) and MAs(GS)(2) bound significantly faster than As(III), suggesting that the glutathionylated arsenicals are preferred substrates for the enzyme. Protein fluorescence also reported binding of Sb(III), and the purified enzyme methylated and volatilized Sb(III). The results suggest that all three cysteine residues are necessary for the first step in the reaction, As(III) methylation, but that only Cys174 and Cys224 are required for the second step, methylation of MAs(III) to dimethylarsenite [DMAs(III)]. The rate-limiting step was identified as the conversion of DMAs(III) to trimethylarsine, and DMAs(III) accumulates as the principal product.

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